Bajan Gangster Flick ‘Tek Dem Out’ is a Big Ole Mess

Julien Neaves, Caribbean Head Writer

Last week for #cariwoodwednesday I dropped my Top 5 Trinidad and Tobago Action Movies ranking and this week I was in the mood for more action films from the region. With that in mind, 2006 Barbadian gangster flick Tek Dem Out seemed like a good choice. It was also up on YouTube and I do love me a free movie. But in this case I feel like I got what I paid for.

Tek Dem Out tells the story of ruthless gangsters “Boss” and “Floss” (played by Keithlyn Lavia and Dugal Lavia respectively) who are targeted by a police task force led by Inspector Batson and Inspector Do Good (yes, that’s his name) and a rasta man named Villion (Bongo Light) who they brutally assaulted and robbed. The film was also written and directed by Bongo Light.

This film has almost 828,000 views since it was uploaded on YouTube on January 22, 2011. I wonder if most of that is Barbadians who just enjoy seeing other Barbadians onscreen, because this movie is bad. Like abysmally bad. Let me talk about the positives first. Don’t worry, we won’t be here long. There are several scenes so awful they cross over into unintentional hilarity, and this includes an awkward sex scene where a female character shouts rapidly in what I assume is pleasure. There are a couple of passable shootouts, though the lack of muzzle fire is quite noticeable. And the soundtrack is decent if somewhat repetitive. That’s it. Now for the bad.

Cheese on bread dat yute man dead! (Apologies for the quality of the photos. These were all I could find online)

The production quality feels like a student film that got a failing grade. The camera work is so shaky that it is practically disorienting. The editing features more wipes than a Powerpoint presentation and there are enough jump cuts to win a skipping competition. The lighting appears to be all natural and there are several scenes where characters are hidden in shadow because they shot under a large tree. The audio is work is shoddy and this is exacerbated by the thick, rapid-fire Bajan accents without any subtitles. A Vincentian guy I know once described the Bajan accent as, “Talking with hot food in your mouth”. I approach it like primary school comprehension—pick out the key terms and work with that.

The performances here range from wooden to melodramatic. Bajan singer Peter Ram is here and people may get a kick out of seeing him, but he does nothing here that would make him reconsider his day job. The plot here is thinner than cobweb and the characters barely one dimensional. But the greatest strike against this gangster action film is how little action there is. It is just scene after scene of people talking and talking with a random dancehall scene thrown in for good measure. And at a running time of more than an hour and a half it is just tiresome.

Tek my advice and don’t tek time out to watch Tek Dem Out. Even watching it for free is too high a price.

Editor Jules’s Score: 2 out of 10

But if you really wanna check out Tek Dem Out (hey, that rhymed) for yourself then you can do so by clicking here. And you can check out more action-packed Caribbean reviews below:

Top 5 Trinidad and Tobago Action Movies (RMR Turns 5, Part 3 of 6)
Jamaica’s Ghett’a Life: Ghetto Rocky with Gangsters (7 Days of Cariwood)
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Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.